Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

manner he was furnished for carrying them away, it was like a dream to them; and their astonishment," he said, "was somewhat like that of Joseph's brethren, when he told them who he was, and told them the story of his exaltation in Pharaoh's court; but when he showed them the arms, the powder, the ball, and provisions, that he brought them for their journey or voyage, they were restored to themselves, took a just share of the joy of their deliverance, and immediately prepared to come away with him."

Their first business was to get canoes; and in this they were obliged not to stick so much upon the honest part of it, but to trespass upon their friendly savages, and to borrow two large canoes, or periaguas, on pretence of going out a fishing, or for pleasure. In these they came away the next morning. It seems they wanted no time to get themselves ready; for they had no baggage, neither clothes nor provisions, nor any thing in the world but what they had on them, and a few roots to eat, of which they used to make their bread.

They were in all three weeks absent; and in that time, unluckily for them, I had the occasion offered for my escape, as I mentioned in my other part, and to get off from the island, leaving three of the most impudent, hardened, ungoverned, disagreeable villains behind me that any man could desire to meet with—to the poor Spaniards' great grief and disappointment, you may be sure.

The only just thing the rogues did was, that when the Spaniards came ashore, they gave my letter to them, and gave them provisions, and other relief, as I had ordered them to do; also they gave them the long paper of directions which I had left with them, containing the particular methods which I took for managing every part of my life there; the way how I baked my bread, bred up tame goats, and planted my corn; how I cured my grapes, made my pots, and, in a word, every thing I did; all this being written down, they gave to the Spaniards (two of them understood English well enough); nor did they refuse to accommodate the Spaniards with any thing else, for they agreed very

[ocr errors]

well for some time. They gave them an equal admission into the house, or cave, and they began to live very sociably f and the head Spaniard, who had seen pretty much of my methods, and Friday's father together, managed all their affairs; but as for the Englishmen, they did nothing but ramble about the island, shoot parrots, and catch tortoises; and when they came home at night, the Spaniards provided their suppers for them.

The Spaniards would have been satisfied with this, had the others but let them alone; which, however, they could not find in their hearts to do long, but, like the dog in the manger, they would not eat themselves, neither would they let the others eat. The differences, nevertheless, were at first but trivial, and such as are not worth relating, but at last it broke out into open war; and it began with all the rudeness and insolence that can be imagined, without reason, without provocation, contrary to nature, and, indeed, to common sense; and though, it is true, the first relation of it came from the Spaniards themselves, whom I may call the accusers, yet when I came to examine the fellows, they could not deny a word of it.

But before I come to the particulars of this part, I must supply a defect in my former relation; and this was, I forgot to set down, among the rest, that just as we were weighing the anchor to set sail, there happened a little quarrel on board of our ship, which I was once afraid would have turned to a second mutiny; nor was it appeased till the captain, rousing up his courage, and taking us all to his assistance, parted them by force, and making two of the most refractory fellows pris0* oners, he laid them in irons; and as they had been active in the former disorders, and let fall some ugly, dangerous words, the second time he threatened to carry them in irons to England, and have them hanged there for mutiny, and running away with the ship. This, it seems (though the captain did not intend to do it), frightened some other men in the ship; and some of them had put it into the heads of the rest that the captain only gave them good words for the present, till they should come to some English port, and that then they should be all "put into gaol, and tried for their lives. The mate got intelligence of this, and acquainted us with it; upon which it was desired that 1, who still passed for a great man among them, should go down with the mate, and satisfy the men, and tell them that they might be assured, if they behaved well the rest of the voyage, all they had done for the time past should be pardoned. So I went, and after passing my honor's word to them, they appeared easy, and the more so when I caused the two men that were in irons to be released and forgiven.

But this mutiny had brought us to an anchor for that night; the wind also falling calm next morning, we found that our two men who had been laid in irons had stole each of them a musket, and some other weapons (what powder or shot they had we knew not), and had taken the ship's pinnace, which was not yet hauled up, and run away with her to their companions in roguery on shore. As soon as we found this, 1 ordered the long-boat on shore, with twelve men and the mate, and away they went to seek the rogues; but they could neither find them or any of the rest, for they all fled into the woods when they savy the boat coming on shore. The mate was once resolved, in justice to their roguery, to have destroyed their plantations, burned all their household stuff and furniture, and left them to shift without it; but having no orders, he let it all alone, left every thing as he found it, and bringing the pinnace away, came on board without them. These two men made their number five; but the other three villains were so much more wicked than they, that after they had been two or three days together, they turned the two new-comers out of doors to shift for themselves, and would have nothing to do with them; nor could they, for a good while, be persuaded to give them any food: as for the Spaniards, they were not yet come.

When the Spaniards came first on shore, the business began

to go forward: the Spaniards would have persuaded the three

English brutes to have taken in their two countrymen again,

that, as they said, they might be all one family; but they would not hear of it; so the two poor fellows Jived by themselves, and finding nothing but industry and application would make them live comfortably, they pitched their tents on the north shore of the island, but a little more to the west, to be out of danger of the savages, who always landed on the east parts of the island.

Uere they built them two huts, one to lodge in, and the other to lay up their magazines and stores in; and the Spaniards having given them some corn for seed, and especially some of the peas which 1 had left them, they dug, planted, and inclosed, after the pattern I had set for them all, and began to live pretty well. Their first crop of corn was on the ground; and though it was but a little bit of land which they had dug up at first, having had but a little time, yet it was enough to relieve them, and find them with bread and other eatables; and one of the fellows being the cook's mate of the ship, was very ready at making soup, puddings, and such other preparations as the rice and the milk, and such little flesh as they got, furnished him to do

They were going on in this little thriving posture, when the three unnatural rogues, their own countrymen too, in mere humor, and to insult them, came and bullied them, and told them the island was theirs; that the governor (meaning me) had given them the possession of it, and nobody else had any right to it; and that they should build no houses upon their ground, unless the}r would pay rent for them.

The two men, thinking they were jesting at first, asked them to come in and sit down, and see what fine houses they were that they had built, and to tell them what rent they demanded; and one of them merrily said, if they were the ground landlords, he hoped, if they built tenements upon their Hind, and made improvements, they would, according to the custom of landlords, grant a long lease; and desired they would get a scrivener to draw the writings. One of the three, cursing and raging, told them they should see they were not in jest; and going to a little place at a distance, where the honest men had made a fire to dress their victuals, he takes a firebrand, and claps it to the outside of their hut, and very fairly set it on. fire; and it would have been all burnt down in a few minutes, if one of the two had not run to the fellow, thrust him away, and trod the fire out with his feet, and that not without some difficulty too.

The fellow was in such a rage at the honest man's thrusting him away, that he returned upon him, with a pole he had in his hand, and had not the man avoided the blow very nimbly, and run into the hut, he had ended his days at once. His comrade, seeing the danger they were both in, ran in after him, and immediately they came both out with their muskets, and the man that was first struck at with the pole, knocked the fellow down that had begun the quarrel with the stock of his musket, and that before the other two could come to help him; and then, seeing the rest come at them, they stood together, and presenting the other ends of their pieces to them, bade them stand off.

The others had fire-arms with them too; but one of the two honest men, bolder than his comrade, and made desperate by his danger, told them, if they offered to move hand or foot, they were dead men, and boldly commanded them to lay down their arms. They did not indeed lay down their arms, but seeing him so resolute, it brought them to a parle}7, and they consented to take their wounded man with them and be gone; and indeed, it seems the fellow was wounded sufficiently with the blow. However, they were much in the wrong, since they had the advantage, that they did not disarm them effectually, as the3r might have done, and have gone immediately to the Spaniards, and given them an account how the rogues had treated them; for the three villains studied nothing but revenge, and every day gave them some intimation that they did so.

But not to crowd this part with an account of the lesser part of the rogueries, such as treading down their corn; shooting three young kids and a she-goat, which the poor men had got to breed up tame for their store; and, in a word, plaguing them nightand day in this manner; it forced the two men to such a desperation, that they resolved to fight them all three,

« AnteriorContinuar »